Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Some Ballot Oddities in Mississippi

Before voting this afternoon, I spoke with several co-workers about their experience. Two common themes emerged immediately. First, the section of the ballot in which we voted on the senate race between Musgrove and Wicker omitted party designations from both candidates. This stood out because it was the only section of the ballot where partisan candidates were listed without party affiliations. Second, there was apparently some sort of delay in the presidential section of the ballot which caused McCain-Palin to be displayed first and without other candidates. This basically meant that voters had to wait patiently for their other choices to appear. I don't consider myself especially paranoid, but this news didn't make me happy.

I voted in a different county (Lamar) than most of my co-workers (Forrest). My experience on the first issue (i.e., no party affiliations listed for Wicker and Musgrove) was identical to theirs. This was the only section of the ballot where partisan candidates were listed without party affiliation. I worry that this may have been confusing to many voters and might have limited any down-ticket impact of the presidential candidates.

Fortunately, I did not experience the second problem when I voted. All presidential candidates came up simultaneously. No unusual delay or puzzling order. What concerns me is that the county in which this problem was reported just so happens to have a much higher African American population than the one in which I reside.